A PAEDOPHILE who had sex with a 14-year-old schoolgirl on repeated occasions after contacting her through Facebook has been jailed for four years.
A court heard how Thomas Dawson, 26, would pick the youngster up at the end of her street in Wakefield in his car while she was wearing her school uniform.
He would then ring the girl’s school and to say she was unwell and would not be attending.
Dawson took the teenager to his home in Pontefract and had sex with her while is partner was at work.
Leeds Crown Court heard Dawson made contact with the girl on Facebook in September 2016 and initially told her he was 16-year-old.
Dawson then groomed the youngster before telling her his real age and made arrangements to meet her for the first time on January 3 last year.
Dawson took the girl to his home on four occasions to have sex with her before the offending came to light when the girl’s father looked at her school’s website and she was listed as absent.
Her parents contacted police on January 11 and she was reported as missing.
Dawson was arrested at 3pm later that day and admitted to officers that he contacted the girl’s school to say she would be absent but denied having sex with her.
He pleaded guilty to meeting a child following sexual grooming and four offences of sexual activity with a child.
The girl described in a victim statement how she thought she was in love with Dawson but now realised that she had been taken advantage of.
She said she now found it difficult to trust anyone.
Richard Wright, QC, mitigating, said: “He was entirely in the wrong but he is genuinely sorry for what he has done and he knows that the court must punish him.”
He added: “This was pure escapism. When he made contact with this young girl and was made aware of her age, that is when it should have ended.”
Mr Wright said Dawson was of previous good character and had admitted the offences at an early stage.
The barrister added that Dawson suffered from diabetes and would struggle to manage with the condition in custody.
Jailing Dawson, judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “You knew she was 14 and you knew she was vulnerable and you purported to be a teenage boy in order to begin that exchange between you.
“There was an element of grooming in your behaviour. You made her feel special at a time when she was vulnerable.”